Jan. 30: Party planning committee meeting

birthday10 Katie’s tenth birthday is coming up—oh lord, how can that be???—and we’ve (she’s) been busily making plans for the big bash. She wants a sleepover party this year, and we told her she could invite three friends and we’ll make sure Dad and Jack will be gone that night. It’s looking like I’ll be on my own with the party girls, then, unless my mom is still here on the 12th oh please Mom please please please still be here on the 12th or I’ll have to paint 40 fingernails and 40 toenails all by myself not to mention feed the girls and sing and dance and where’s Kathy when I need her oh please oh please oh please.

Tonight I reminded Vic that he needed to take Jack away for the night of the 12th—I suggested bunking at Darlene and Wellington’s house—and here, VERBATIM(ish), is how the rest of the conversation went:

Vic: Are you serious?

Jen: Yes. No boys allowed.

[Katie giggles.]

Jen: Except the ones we invite over.

[Katie giggles a lot. So does Jen. Vic smirks.]

Vic, kinda snarly: I’ll check in, y’know.

Jen: Oh my word, my mom’ll probably be here! Why are you so—

Vic, incredulous: Your mom? She’s the worst one of all!

[Jen laughs. Katie doesn’t get it.]

Vic: ‘Course, the guys she’d invite over wouldn’t really worry me…

Well, Mom, at least he’s not still convinced you’re looking for a wife. And you gotta admit, he’s spot-on about the guys you’d want to invite. But remember, being here for Katie’s sleepover is a favor to ME, not him. You can pretend to be mad at him the whole time you’re here, okay?


Jan. 30: More witty twitters

I’ve found some new, very witty twitterers since my last “witty twitters” post. Check ‘em out:


fireland You ever get drunk and buy something online but forget all about it until she shows up on your porch, yelling something in Russia-talk?

adamisacson Women now outnumber men in college. One gender thinks high-heeled shoes are comfortable and practical. And men, apparently, are dumber.

CranberryPerson Almost barfed on my morning run. Dunno if it was because I've been sick for weeks, or if I had too much red wine for breakfast.

Dogphorisms Wolves share 99% of our DNA, but they have 0% of our Snuggies for dogs. In your face, wolfie!

lonelysandwich Really, Art Linkletter? I've heard darnder.

This is really Stephen Colbert: StephenAtHome these boots were made for walking as well as kicking over office chairs when my assistant brings the wrong coffee

Moltz Oh, the things these walls would say if they could talk! Same thing with the gagged hostages! And if I untie them, oh, the places they'd go!

secretsquirrel Listen, it says right here "Petting Zoo" and 'heavy' IS a kind of petting so either leave us alone or help me get this llama's bra off.

wordlust The worst threat to a marriage isn’t the seven-year itch—it’s the two-and-a-half-year skidmark.

wordlust I like Argo Tea’s White Frostea, but when will they sell Die with Dignitea and Fresh Atrocitea?

biorhythmist Are you not familiar with the concept of a wet nurse? Anyway, I'll give your baby back if you apologize for yelling at me in the food court.

wordlust The Despicable Snowman and The Passive-Aggressive Snowman are no picnic either.

biorhythmist Oh, ANISE. Sorry, yeah, that's why these cookies taste horrible.

CranberryPerson My dad taught me how to throw a baseball. I taught my son that you can get 1ups if Mario repeatedly jumps on the same turtle shell.

sween My wife leaves for girls' night. I go upstairs and put the toilet seat up. Just to remember I can. Then I put it down. I'm not an idiot.

strutting Crap. Just toppled my pile of clothes. I didn't know that was a load-bearing sweater.

Moltz I'm pleased to report that tonight at dinner Hank figured out the most important rule of football: "The Cowboys smell like poopie monkeys."

adamisacson Canadians would be chagrined to know how many Americans think a "Vancouver" is a big tarp for your VW microbus.

GorillaSushi Sometime you want to do GREAT things with your life. Then you DO THEM! And then you think "maybe homemade hot dogs weren't the best idea".

CranberryPerson I had to promise my kid I wouldn't play Mario while he was sick in bed, and now he's playing without me! AIN'T NO WII AT MILITARY SCHOOL.

samhey I'm about to get savage up in this bitch. And by 'get savage' I mean clip my toenails and by 'bitch' I mean adorable terrycloth bathrobe.

biorhythmist Can you believe this guy watching porn on the bus over my shoulder?

sween How to wear a fedora: 1) Be Indiana Jones. 2) Stop chuckling. I'm serious. 3) Hey. Numbnuts. You're not Indiana Jones. Take it off.

luckyshirt SCIENCE FACT: If you took all of the veins from your body and laid them end to end, you would die.

Jan. 13: biorhythmist Text HATEY to 40404 to tweet your feelings about Pat Robertson.

hotdogsladies When I sautée green peppers, I often remove the tiny slivers from the sticker I forgot to remove. That's how you know I'm a "foodie."

phillygirl It would serve humanity well to give me a shovel and 5 minutes alone in a room with this author who does not know how to cite his sources.

phillygirl Had full-fat salad dressing & did not immediately become obese. I'm baffled. Also, it tasted like...flavor? Yes, that must have been flavor.

copyblogger Funniest country song lyric ever: "I'm at home getting hammered while she's out getting nailed."

CranberryPerson The three Ms of parenting: McDonald's, movies, and I forget the other one but who cares because 67% is still a passing grade most places.

Zaius13 Submitting a picture of Mickey Rourke to crappytaxidermy.com.

cpinck Who’s got two thumbs and might be doing this police lineup wrong?

EffingBoring You'll be *falling* in love to the rhythm of a steel drum band? So you aren't *in* love yet? WHY DID YOU AGREE TO GO TO KOKOMO WITH THIS GUY

MrBigFists Looking at my resume. Says here, I left a job in 95 due to "Gross Incontinence." That can't be right... Oh. Yeah. No, that's totally right.

wigu Women. They don't want you to sing about poop, and they don't want you to sing about NOT singing about poop.

bcompton For every communicable disease I get from my son that he got from school, I teach him a new swear.

evilbeet Just gave my cat a "two bazillion percent yes." She was like, "That's not a real thing." I was like, "Don't tell Randy Jackson."

FakeAPStylebook Avoid corporate buzzwords such as "paradigm" and "synergy." Simply use "bullshit."

strutting All the single ladies! Put your hands up! (Crap, none of them have rings ... this was the worst robbery idea ever ...)

paul_e_wog I *hate* traveling. They're all "take off your shoes!", "take off your belt!", "no fluids!" It's like TSA hired all of my ex-girlfriends.

adamisacson Funny that stealing an eminent philosopher's bicycle is not "intellectual property" theft, but making a copy of "Deuce Bigalow" is.

adamisacson They say 1 glass of wine a day is good for your heart. But what about 7 glasses of wine once a week? I'll let you know how that works out.

_mattie Tedious dinner party. Help me Obi Wine Kenobi, you're my only hope.

CranberryPerson My three year old just berated some toys for being "nerds." Dunno where he learned that, but I can never let him see my old yearbooks now.

exframebuilder On public toilet wall, "My mother made me a homosexual." Underneath, "If I bought the yarn, could she make one for me."

gordonshumway I always get chloroform confused with chlorophyll. This guy I kidnapped is awake and angry but his leaves have never been more lush.

MooeyTie Sorry about that accidental flatulence, WalMart. Although, I'm pretty confident that you won't notice.

CranberryPerson Asking guests to make donations in lieu of gifts for a 7 yr old's birthday party will teach the kid an important lesson- get better parents.

_loveclaire It's not that I hate my downstairs neighbors, I just want to put them on a rocket ship and aim it at a giant planet made entirely of shit.

sween Eating at a T.G.I. Fridays on a Monday tastes like lies.

phillygirl Boy with toy laptop sits next to me w/my real one. "I brought mine,too," he says. I warn him about the patchy wifi. He nods in appreciation.

FakeAPStylebook Don't use two words when you can use one, unless those two words are "chainsaw duel" because that's awesome, dude.

Dogphorisms Humans call it a gerbil cage, but it’s a mesmerizing combination of TV, the Internet, and a lunch box to me.

Sorry, Sunshine: brienis OH: "Twilight introduced me to good literature." I think she meant "glorified fanfiction" but it won't save her from my fork. In her eye.

Jan. 27: sherileec Watching dvr of Oprah with Ted Haggard and wife. Ugh. Give me a break. She needs a swig of whatever Elizabeth Edwards is finally drinking.

FanEffingTastic No sweetie, we don't call it "drunk" anymore. Mommy is just alcohol enhanced.

ladawn Nothing like parent drop-off in the rain to make you...OMG MOVE YOU ASSHOLE...oh, sorry Ms. Jones, see you at parent-teacher conference!

Dogphorisms Oh garbage can lid, foul garbage can lid... Merciless gatekeeper of heaven! What did I ever do to you?

essdogg Paula Deen just discarded the egg whites and kept the yolks. Run away with me, you sexy minx, you!


MooeyTie Isn't it possible that there actually were chocolate covered candy hearts to give away, but Stevie Wonder just couldn't see them?

lafix Lube, batteries, wine & a wheel of Brie are the ingredients of homemade shark repellent when a nosy kid looking in your cart asks.

Jan. 29: FakeAPStylebook Natural disasters don't just happen. Be sure to investigate to find out what the affected area did to anger God and/or the planet.


MooeyTie If I had a superpower, it would be getting my finger stuck in things that fold, swearing, and then throwing the things across a room.

fireland Woke up in the ball pit at McDonald's, underwear full of dollar bills. So far, best birthday ever.

wordlust Your mom is so crazy she goes cuckoo for Frosted Mini-Wheats.

Dogphorisms I don’t know what’s in that baby diaper, but going on aroma alone, my compliments to the chef!


Jan. 29: Gratitude

gratitude Sherilee has inspired me again to reflect on the things for which I’m grateful. It’s not an easy thing for me this week, as I’m feeling pretty rotten, but I think I can still come up with a list worthy of a post. In no particular order…

I’m thankful for Twitter, which frequently gives me the giggles. This evening I was working on a “witty twitters” post to publish in the next few days, and in doing so, discovered a new (to me) Twitterer named MikeyADHD. Like Dogphorisms, Mikey is not what he seems, I’m quite sure—he’s supposedly a kid and definitely oh-so-inappropriate… and also very, very funny. I laughed so hard while I read through his twitters that I thought I was gonna throw up. Laughing until it hurts is pretty great, but I do try to stop before I puke. Usually.

My furry housemates are sweethearts, and I’m quite sure they can sense that I need a little extra lovin’ this week. For the last few days, my nap companions have been two dogs and a cat, all pressed against me playing the let’s-see-who-can-get-closest-to-Jen game. I mostly love that game. This cuddly stuff makes me thankful, also, for a large bed.

Sunshine shared lots of Michael Bublé music videos on Facebook all week, and this one made me smile more than any other. They’re all good, of course. I like this guy so much, but I can’t imagine ever preferring any of his songs over my all-time favorite, “Home.” Here’s a funny video of him pronouncing his name (which is not “boobull,” by the way).

Which reminds me, Jon Hamm and Michael Bublé are on Saturday Night Live tomorrow. Is that a total man-candy episode, or what? 

I love fonts to a somewhat embarrassing degree. It all started when I worked for my friend Lafe in college; he unwittingly made me the font-crazy freak I am today. Here are a bunch of really fun free fonts from a site my friend Deanna told me about. Enjoy, won’t you? And if you want even more fun, check out Lettering Delights. I’ve purchased more of their alphabets and coordinating clip art than I care to admit—sometimes they run great sales—but as the PTO prepares for our big carnival at school next weekend, they’re really coming in handy. That makes it totally worth it, right? Right.

Fancy Lori™ took her son (my future son-in-law) in for an appendectomy this morning. He’s home this evening, and already feeling better. Hooray!

I’m especially grateful this week for eBay/Etsy seller English Traditions. She’s the one who made my new, very pretty and comfy scarves, and in a very speedy manner: I put my fabric in last Friday’s mail and got my finished scarves back yesterday! If you know anyone going through chemotherapy, I recommend these—they’re very well made and fit perfectly. Also, the seller’s name is Kathleen (Kathy), so you know she’s gotta be awesome. smiley

A lot of my friends are going to a memorial service tomorrow for a former classmate of ours. Even those of us who didn’t know her well have been affected by the news of her death; it’s tragic when someone dies too young, and because hers was a suicide, it’s all the more heartbreaking. It sounds like the turnout at the service will be huge, and I’m glad for that, because her mutual friends will definitely need each other for support. I wish she could have seen how many people are devastated by the loss of their friend.

Speaking of friends, I’m incredibly grateful for mine. They do such good things, many of which I doubt they even realize lift my spirits in ways nothing else can. Whether it’s in person, via text message, blog comment, email or Facebook conversation, I adore them for all they are and the ways they continue to enrich my life.


P.S. Here, for no reason whatsoever, is a picture of a cute little bunny:


You’re welcome.

Jan. 29: 50 questions

It’s been a while since I’ve done a meme. I know you’ve totally noticed. This one is a bunch of random questions, stolen from one blogger who stole it from another who stole it from another. Y’know, cuz that’s how we do.

  1. Do you get manicures/pedicures?
    I like to, but I haven’t in a while.
  2. When did you last get your hair cut?
    In December. Shaving my head counts, right?
  3. Do you get regular massages?
    I love Swedish massages, but I haven’t had one in years. They give me headaches because my sinuses fill when I’m on my stomach. Aren’t you glad to know that?
  4. Have you ever waxed a part of your body?
    Intentionally? Yes. When I had eyebrows, I got them waxed regularly. I can’t wax anything lower than that, though, mostly out of embarrassment/modesty. I’ve done it, but I prefer not to.
  5. Can you see your veins?
    My skin is transparent, so YES. Phlebotomists love me.
  6. Do you use tanning beds?
    Not since I discovered spray tans.
  7. Favorite soap?
    I don’t really have a favorite, although I do have some preferences. I can’t stand the smell of Dial. I usually buy Lever 2000. For all my 2000 parts.
  8. Favorite shampoo?
    What’s with all the hair questions? Way to remind me over and over that I don’t have any…
  9. Favorite kind of music?
    I like lots of different kinds, but probably Broadway musicals best. My momma taught me right.
  10. Favorite time of day?
    Between 10 and midnight, probably. The kids are asleep and the house is as quiet as I want it to be—good time to watch TV or read or blog.
  11. Favorite local tourist attraction?
    Um… I guess OMSI or the zoo.
  12. Favorite swear word?
    I think the F-word a lot. I try not to say it out loud because my kids have bionic hearing.
  13. Favorite fruit?
    A nice, just-past-green banana.
  14. Favorite kind of meat?
    A filet mignon makes me happy.
  15. Favorite fish?
    I hate seafood. Stinky.
  16. Favorite flavor milkshake?
    Coffee or Oreo.
  17. Favorite kinds of candy?
    Red licorice, Junior Mints, Reese’s Pieces, gummi bears, and grape Now & Laters.
  18. Have you ever eaten a whole bag of potato chips?
    Probably. Not one of those industrial sized ones though.
  19. Have you ever eaten lobster?
    I’ve tasted it.
  20. What’s a food you’re embarrassed to admit you love to eat?
    Lemon Hostess fruit pies, wherein the definition of “fruit” is questionable.
  21. What’s the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?
    Oysters, I guess. We used to have these big Saltmarsh family oyster feeds, and I was too young to know any better. (Check out this list to trigger your memory.)
  22. Have you ever climbed a mountain?
    A big one? Like, one that really counts? No. I’ve been to the top of one though… Pike’s Peak, elevation 14,100 feet. I got altitude sickness.
  23. Have you ever been skydiving or bungee jumping?
    Nope. I think the sensation of free-falling would be amazing, but I’m pretty sure I could never make the jump.
  24. Have you ever been water-skiing?
    Not successfully. And not nekkid, but I know someone who has… (psssst… it was Kim F’n, on Beaver—I AM NOT JOKING—Lake).
  25. Do you like your nose?
    It’s alright.
  26. Would you change the color of your eyes if you could?
    Probably not. Blue’s good.
  27. Do you like salt and vinegar potato chips?
    Oh, yes! They’re my favorite kind.
  28. Do you eat salsa?
    Yeah. I like the smooth stuff better than chunky.
  29. What do you buy at the movie theater concession stand?
    Popcorn, almost always (without the motor oil, thank you). Sometimes candy (see above).
  30. Do you own a boat?
    Not besides the one I play with in the bathtub.
  31. Do you have a pool?
    No. Wait, do inflatable ones count? Because then I totally do.
  32. Can you swim?
  33. Which do you prefer, bagel or toast?
  34. Cats or dogs?
    I love both.
  35. Pens or pencils?
    It depends. I have a preference for #2 pencils lately though. Y’know, for all those standardized tests I take.
  36. Coffee or tea?
    Again, it depends. I like both very much.
  37. Bath or shower?
    Shower for everyday. Bath for relaxing.
  38. Markers or crayons?
    What, no colored pencil option? Then… crayons.
  39. You’re making a trip across the country. Do you drive or fly?
    Oh my word. I would definitely fly. You would not want to be in a car with me driving cross-country.
  40. First credit card you had?
  41. First loan you got was for?
  42. First major purchase?
    Probably a car.
  43. What was your first job?
    Babysitting, I guess. My first real job was working in an office with my then-stepsister, when I was 16.
  44. What was your occupation previous to the one you have now?
    Software trainer, full time. Loved it.
  45. Have you ever had stitches?
    Surprisingly, just once; last June, when I cut my eyebrow open.
  46. Last time you went to the hospital for something?
    Oh, geez. I go to the hospital all the time; sadly, not just because I work in one.
  47. Last place you drove to?
    Katie and I went backpack-shopping last night.
  48. Last place you flew to?
    Wow, I can’t remember. Has it been that long? What’s happened to my travelin’ ways???
  49. Last time you were at a sports bar?
    If Applebee’s counts, last week.
  50. Last thing you celebrated?
    New Year’s Eve. Katie was away with her cousins, but Jack was home and stayed up until midnight with us. He soooo did not get the excitement.

As always, you’re invited to share your answers in a comment or your own blog.


Jan. 28: Mushroom lasagna recipe

I’m sure I’ve shared the story of when my mother-in-law sabotaged Thanksgiving, haven’t I? I asked for her pumpkin pie recipe and she ACCIDENTALLY left an important ingredient out: sugar. SUGAR! As I was preparing the pie, I thought it was odd that there was no sugar in the actual pie mixture, but the shortbread crust is so rich and sweet that I assumed it all balanced out. I was wrong, but I didn’t find that out until everyone at our family gathering had been served their very bland slices of pumpkin pie.

Isn’t that evil of her? That’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this woman’s tricks, I assure you. Heh heh heh…

My mother-in-law has graciously shared her recipe for Mushroom Lasagna, courtesy of Grace Clark. She said she double-checked to make sure she didn’t leave sugar out of the recipe, but this one’s safe: no sugar.

She makes this lasagna with FriChik (Diced Chik, actually), which is a fake chicken soy mystery-meat product that I truly hate but somehow it’s absolutely delicious in this dish. I have friends who eat FriChik right out of the can, though, so apparently some people think it’s good no matter what. Freaks.

To me, this lasagna has kind of a stroganoff-y flavor and I think it’s terrific.

Lasagna with FriChik & Mushrooms

  • 12 lasagna noodles, cooked

Sauté together:

  • 3 T. margarine
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh mushrooms
  • ½ cup chopped onions

Set aside.

  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 can diced Worthington FriChik (or 1½ -2 cups cooked coarsely diced chicken breast)
  • 2 cans Campbell’s mushroom soup
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 McKay’s chicken seasoning
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1½ cups small curd cottage cheese

  1. Mix all together except for noodles and cottage cheese. Save ½ cup mozzarella cheese for top.
  2. Layer starting with small amount of sauce, noodles and cottage cheese in 13 x 9 pan.
  3. Top with noodles and mozzarella.

Cover with foil and bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Remove foil the last 15 minutes or after it begins to bubble.


Jan. 28: Worst. Wife. Ever.

Victor’s been working an early shift this week. Every morning that he’s out the door before I even get up, he gets the coffee maker all ready so when I come downstairs I only need to push START and guess what? Fresh coffee for Jen.

He’s a nice guy.

Yesterday morning I came downstairs and pushed START on the coffee maker and nothing happened. Now, if you read my post last night, you know that I was grouchy yesterday morning. So when I pushed START on the coffee maker and nothing happened, I opened the top of the coffee maker to see that Victor had NOT prepared my coffee for the day. And do you know what I did?

I cursed. I actually cursed. Worse, I cursed Victor. I cursed him for not preparing my coffee for the day.

I am not a nice guy.

I went ahead and made my own coffee, grumbling all the way, and then completely forgot about how angry I was at him. Completely forgot, that is, until this morning when I went to get coffee and thought I should check inside the coffee maker before I pushed START. And there I saw a clean, dry filter with just enough grounds for my 20-ounce mug (with room for French vanilla creamer, obvy). I pushed START and am now enjoying a cup of coffee that has NOT been sitting in the carafe for two hours.

And I’m feeling huge guilt for cursing Victor yesterday. It was uncalled for. It was mean. I’d like to think he brought it upon himself for getting me used to only having to push START every morning, but that wouldn’t be very appreciative of me, would it? And I do appreciate his efforts, even if he occasionally fails.

I should probably count on my coffee being at least half Vic-spit from now until I remember to apologize to his face.


Jan. 27: Wednesday things

Here are some of the thoughts rolling around in my noggin today:

  • I’ve felt kinda crappy all day. This is the beginning of my third week since chemo, so I should be feeling better now, or at least that’s the way it’s been after my treatments so far. Kim F’n says the poison’s building up in my system and I think she’s right. What am I saying? OF COURSE she’s right. Kim F’n is never wrong.
  • I started getting a headache last night; it actually began as a toothache, and because of where it is, I’m pretty sure it’s one of my wisdom teeth. I’ve avoided having them removed for the last several years because my dentist has never said it was all that urgent and quite frankly, the whole idea of it makes me nervous. Novocaine and nitrous oxide both make me feel pukey and I want to be put completely OUT to have my wisdom teeth pulled. I think that means I need an oral surgeon rather than a dentist, and I haven’t gotten around to finding one because (again!) there’s never been a hurry to do it. And now that I might possibly NEED to have those stupid wisdom teeth pulled, I probably shouldn’t. I’m not even supposed to floss my friggin’ teeth because with my compromised immune system it could start a new infection. So I’m trying to deal with a toothache, which is causing a migraine-like headache, which is making me nauseous, and in case I haven’t mentioned this before, I really really really hate cancer.
  • I have a weird rash/breakout kind of thing on my neck and shoulders. I don’t know what it is. It doesn’t itch or even really hurt all that much, but it’s not pretty and makes me kinda mad. I’ve never had an acne problem but-cept for the occasional giant, single zit on the end of my nose. So what’s up with this constellation on skin that is quite frequently visible when I’m wearing T-shirts? Grrr, I say.
  • Two of my three girl critters were sleeping very sweetly this evening. Take a look (quietly, please, so’s not to disturb their slumber):

    Millie and Scout
  • The kids were at Grandpa and Grandma’s overnight last night, so today was my morning to get up slowly and not shower until noon. Then last night I happened to see a volunteer training session on my calendar. Dammit. I got up early(ish) and went to the school to teach parents not to walk through the library during school hours, but nobody showed up. I was kinda grouchy already, and that didn’t help. I worked on a few other volunteer-related things so the morning wasn’t a total loss, and I did get to see Fancy Lori™ for a couple minutes, but still… Flaky people who don’t show up for trainings I schedule just for them? They piss me right off.
  • Will that Qwest commercial where the guy says “I’m using le wi-fi” in the thick French accent ever NOT make me laugh?
  • I also like the Special K commercial where the mom’s sitting in her kid’s chair and when she stands up the chair sticks to her bum. I don’t like it because I can relate to it, or anything like that. Noooo.
  • Deanna and Debi are both on Facebook now and it makes me happy happy happy. It’s all I can do not to plaster their walls with silliness, but I’m afraid I’ll scare them away. People who have taken this long to finally participate in social media networks must be approached cautiously.
  • A funny quote I found recently:

Good friends will be there to take your drink
away from you when they think you’ve had enough.
But your BEST FRIENDS will look at you trippin’ over your own two feet and say,
“Bitch, drink the rest of that. You know we don’t waste that kinda shit!”

  • …which reminds me… in that book I just read, The Middle Place, Kelly The Cancer Patient drinks alcohol often. I was told I shouldn’t drink at all while I’m in cancer treatment. I think I’d rather not listen to my oncologist, and instead follow the example of a random author. Wouldn’t this all be a lot easier to deal with if I was numb? And wouldn’t remember it all later? And was all loose and happy and didn’t care about anything? Huh? You know I’m right, don’t you?


Jan. 26: The Middle Place

Today I finished reading The Middle Place, by Kelly Corrigan. A description from Amazon:

Newspaper columnist Corrigan was a happily married mother of two young daughters when she discovered a cancerous lump in her breast. She was still undergoing treatment when she learned that her beloved father, who'd already survived prostate cancer, now had bladder cancer. Corrigan's story could have been unbearably depressing had she not made it clear from the start that she came from sturdy stock. Growing up, she loved hearing her father boom out his morning HELLO WORLD dialogue with the universe, so his kids would feel like the world wasn't just a safe place but was even rooting for you. As Corrigan reports on her cancer treatment—the chemo, the surgery, the radiation—she weaves in the story of how it felt growing up in a big, suburban Philadelphia family with her larger-than-life father and her steady-loving mother and brothers. She tells how she met her husband, how she gave birth to her daughters. All these stories lead up to where she is now, in that middle place, being someone's child, but also having children of her own. Those learning to accept their own adulthood might find strength—and humor—in Corrigan's feisty memoir.

I bought the book while shopping with Sherilee in November, just before my diagnosis. It appealed to me because of the father-daughter relationship element, and also the general idea of the book itself: living in that middle place, between being someone’s kid and someone’s parent. The book ended up shoved in a bookcase during the holidays, and I just discovered it the other day when I was looking for something new to read.

Now that I’m fighting cancer myself, I thought I could relate to the book even better than when I purchased it. But it turns out that I related to it a little bit too well. Reading it put me in a blue mood. I think it was that Corrigan put into words a lot of the things I’ve been feeling and unable to express or even understand. Most difficult, though, was that she wrote about things I hadn’t even considered before—things relating to her children and family’s futures.

On top of the challenge of regaining her own health, her frustration with watching her dad deal with his cancer diagnosis was also something with which I could identify. In the years my dad had leukemia, I remember feeling so out of the loop because every few months I’d get a call that he was suddenly in the hospital. Often I would have just talked to him a day or two before, one of our normal catching-up conversations in which he’d not mentioned upcoming appointments, feeling unwell, etc., even though I asked about his health a hundred different ways. Grrr. At least there was a happy-ish ending to Mr. Corrigan’s story.

I loved the style of Corrigan’s writing, and I enjoyed the way the book alternated between the cancer fight and Kelly-and-Dad stories from her childhood. I appreciated her honesty and how she seemed unafraid to admit her faults and human-ness. I think what bothered me about the book—and this is nothing against her, it’s simply the way her story bounced around my brain—is that it gave me a “why me?” feeling.

Ever since my cancer diagnosis I’ve followed doctors’ orders and taken every step I should to get myself better. People say how strong and brave I am, but I don’t have a choice, do I? I mean, my only other option would be to let it go, let the cancer spread to the rest of my body, and die. Right? I don’t have a death wish. I’ll do whatever I need to get this in remission and be healthy again.

But somehow, reading about someone else dealing with cancer—right at this moment, while I’m dealing with it myself—made me see it more objectively. It seemed scarier than I have thought my own experience is. It seemed more dire. I didn’t like that part at all. In that way, I guess it probably wasn’t the best book for me to read right now. Although Corrigan is now cancer-free, her story drained me emotionally.

I recommend the book, definitely, but maybe just to the healthier folk in my life.


Jan. 26: From the family archives

My dad’s cousin emailed some old pictures he found of my dad. I love this one of the two of them:


That’s Wade on the left, Dad on the right. I think Wade looks like he stepped right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. I have no idea how old they are here… maybe 8 and 10? That would make this about 1952 or so. And I don’t know whose house they’re at, either. Mom, can you tell?

Here’s a pic that makes Dad look like the sportsman he considered himself to be. Not sure where the shirt and tie are; isn’t that how he normally dressed for hiking? Looks like the golf shirt and ridiculous fishing hat were the wardrobe choice for that day’s adventures. And even though his feet aren’t showing in the photo, I can almost guarantee you he was wearing wing-tips.


I don’t know who the other people are, but that’s Dad in the middle. The guy on the right looks like Jack from The Rouge, but it’s most likely not. Mom or Deanna, maybe you can identify them?

The third picture appears to be my dad discreetly peeing on a rock. Even though he’s gone, I’m pretty sure he’d die all over again at the thought of a picture of him peeing (or even looking like he might be peeing) being published on the Internet. I’ll be saving that one for when I feel the need to seek revenge over the memory of some way he embarrassed me.

Ah, I do love old photos. Thanks, Wade!


Jan. 25: Hot and hearty? Yes, please!

Many, many moons ago I remember watching Talk Soup when it was a brand new show, where I first became familiar with Greg Kinnear. I think it was on a visit to Kathy’s; I was flipping channels and she said, “Oh, you gotta watch this guy. He’s really funny!” She was right—I loved him. Kath and me like them funny ones.

I was super-bummed when Greg Kinnear left the show, but I ended up liking John Henson a lot, too. What a cutie. I was way happy when he popped up on My Name is Earl a few times last season, but otherwise I don’t see him much these days. Apparently he hosts a game show now.


And then came Hal Sparks. IMO, he’s the the most adorable one yet. I follow him on Twitter because he’s frequently amusing. He even occasionally contributes to the fabulousness that is The Huffington Post.


E! changed Talk Soup around a little; it’s now called The Soup and Joel McHale hosts. Just like the others before him, he was new to me when he started on the show—though in this case, I should’ve recognized him from Almost Live!, Seattle’s version of Saturday Night Live. Heh, oops. Anyway, it didn’t take me long to fall myself in love with Joel because of his fine hosting work on The Soup—though admittedly, I don’t watch it often lately. And now he’s also on Community, which I think is hilarious, and you’d think that’d be Joel McHale overkill but you’d think wrong.


And the whole reason for this post, besides an excuse to reflect back on the charm of these very funny men, is to share this interview with Joel McHale, posted recently at Advocate.com. It made me LOL.


Jan. 24: I miss everything… everything

San Francisco is one of my favorite cities on the planet. I know a lot of people who feel the same. There’s something about simply being in the city that makes me happy; I’ve been there a million times now, and I still get excited when I catch a glimpse of certain buildings or one of the bridges or other landmarks. Every time, it’s the same kind of excitement I felt on my very first visit in 1984.

When I got the newest Train album on iTunes last week, I fell in love with the first song immediately: “Save Me, San Francisco.” The chorus goes like this:

I’ve been high, I’ve been low

I’ve been yes and I’ve been oh, hell no

I’ve been rock ‘n roll and disco

Won’t you save me, San Francisco?


Download the “Save Me, San Francisco” MP3 - (Right Click)


Kinda fun, right?

I knew this was a song I needed to share with others. And then I started listening to the lyrics more closely. The guy (OK, specifically the lead singer, Pat Monahan, who lives in Seattle) sings “Oregon” as “OR-A-GONE”—granted, for what seems like rhyming purposes, but STILL. As a northwesterner, shouldn’t he know better? Is it not common knowledge that that pronunciation is unforgiveable?

But wait, there’s more! He also sings about meeting “some ladies from Marin” who leave him “with these blisters on my skin.” Well, If I know one thing about my friends, it’s that they love songs about catching STDs. Hm. Maybe never mind sharing this song.

I still love it, though. And I really, really am loving this band so much as I get to know their music better. For instance, the first song I paid any attention to was “Hey, Soul Sister.” My Sunshine girl quoted lyrics from that song on Facebook for days. And then Sherilee posted this fun video of it on her blog, and I love it even more than the official Train video, which is pretty good except for where the girl in the white looks like she has boxer shorts pantylines.


Enjoy this little taste of Train. I sure do. But I’m going to pronounce the band name “Try-ane” just to piss ‘em off.


Jan. 24: It’s badgertastic!

Just when you think you’ve found all the fun there is to be found, a woman starts up a blog that shares all the weird stuff her husband says in his sleep. You have GOT to check out Sleep Talkin’ Man. Warning: not for little eyes.

Hat tip to Loveliest Lori for alerting me to this one. She must have known I was needing a reason to fall in love with the Internet all over again.


Jan. 23: Roles in crisis

I am constantly reminded these days about how lucky I am to have the very supportive family and friends that I do. It seems like every day I get another message from someone new who’s offering help of some kind. Y’all are so generous, and I apologize if I can’t stop thanking you. You’re kinda way fab.

Tonight I started thinking about the very fascinating and different ways people react to crisis, and it makes me wonder so much WHAT makes them do what they do (or don’t do, as the case may be). Someone gets bad news and a switch goes off in them that determines their behavior. Is it something in their upbringing? Their past personal tragedies? Something they saw in a movie once?

My dad’s unexpected death was the first tragic event that affected Victor and me personally after we were married. Not having faced this kind of thing together before, I didn’t have a clue how Vic would be. I found it interesting that he almost immediately shifted into “helper” mode. He started making phone calls to people he didn’t even know, just because we asked him to. Ron was very helper-y too. He took the kids to the zoo one day when everyone was going crazy after being in the house for too many days in a row. Vic and Ron both got meals for all of us several times. They ran errands nonstop. Really, they saw to our most basic needs. It was exactly what Kathy and I needed that first week. How did those boys we married know that?

There were other people who popped up during that time who surprised us with their concern, helpfulness, and generosity. We have since talked a lot about how people’s true selves really come out in times of crisis, and how impressed we were with the unpredictable during that particular one.

In some cases, the unpredictable was disappointing. There were people who should have done certain things who didn’t. I’d like to think they were so thrown by grief that they didn’t know what to say or do; sadly, I don’t think that’s true for all of them. It’s weird to me. Were those their true selves? Yikes. I don’t want them around me when the going gets tough.

Again, so many of you, our friends and family members, have come to us with tremendous offers of help and support since my cancer diagnosis. If these are your true selves—and I do believe they are—then I want you people in my life as long as it lasts. And if I ever get the chance to do the same for you, you can bet I’ll be there, doing whatever I can.

(I kinda really hope you’re not gonna ask me to iron stuff. I suck at ironing.)


Jan. 23: Noah’s Compass

It’s been a couple weeks since I finished reading Anne Tyler’s latest novel, Noah’s Compass. If you’re familiar with her books, you know that her characters are usually less than loveable; they are frequently irritating, antisocial, or unmotivated. I have a hard time relating to them (thank god) and sometimes even dislike them so much I stop caring what happens.

Maybe it’s a little strange, then, that I continue to read her books. It’s just that they’re incredibly well-written, and almost always interesting. I love her style of writing, which is easy to read and has a very natural flow. She creates amazing characters—imperfect, yes—and is a fabulous storyteller. Some of my favorite Anne Tyler novels of the past have been The Accidental Tourist, Saint Maybe, Breathing Lessons, and now I can add Noah’s Compass to that list.

Here’s a review of Noah’s Compass from a columnist with The Daily Beast. I thought it was spot-on.


Jan. 23: Happy birthday, Loveliest Lori!

Today several people I know are celebrating their birthdays, but the specialest one to me is Loveliest Lori Baughman Lassen. Happy birthday, Lori! Since I saw you on Wednesday and we kinda did the birthday wishes thang then, here’s what I have for you today:


It’s just because you’re such an amazing friend, you know. You are. I love you bunches! Have a great day—it’s exactly what you deserve!


Jan. 22: “Forks” is somethin’ different to me

You’ve met my friend Random Sunshine, right? She’s adorable and funny and if I didn’t love her I’d have to hate her, because the girl’s got it ALL. Ever since we met last spring, we’ve said to each other, “No way! You do that too?!” lots of times—LOTS of times. She loves Zac Efron just like I do (shut up, Sheila). We text back and forth during TV comedies. We quote Liz Lemon (our hero) to each other. We laugh a LOT. Being friends with Sunshine makes me feel like I’m not all alone in my weirdness, and possibly that I’m maybe not all that weird after all.

We’re a lot alike, Sunshine and me, but we’re not identical. For instance—and this is a big’n, folks—Sunshine is a Twilight fan or Twilighter or Twi–head or Twerd or Fan-pire or whatever they’re called. And I am sooo not one of those. (If you’ve been paying attention, you know that I have an extraordinary fear of vampires and vampire accessories.) When I discovered that Sunshine is a fellow blogger, I was thrilled… until the first time I read one of her posts, which was the first of what ended up being three friggin’ entries about how she went Twilight-scouting. (I know you’re totally clicking through to read it, Jen E… I’ll wait.)

Several scenes of the Twilight movies were filmed within a couple miles of where we live, though most were in the farther reaches of the Portland area and beyond, even up into British Columbia. This makes Twilight-Scouting a super-popular activity for those wacky Twilight fans who think the many locations around here that were at one time meant to be Forks, Washington are the most romantic places this side of Full-of-Freaks-Crazytown, USA.

And I am friends with one of these freaks. Gah.

Alright, well, in spite of her fixation with all things vampire, Sunshine and I continue to hang out. And I read her blog faithfully because she sometimes posts non-Twilight things. There might even be nut-job stuff about me that she suffers through too. Probably every time she says goodbye, she thinks “How am I supposed to put up with this girl’s obsession with perfect hair skin teeth posture punctuation?”

After our PTO board meeting this morning, Sunshine and I went out for coffee. That was our intention, anyway. By the time we’d run a couple errands, we decided we were not just in need of coffee, but food too. We threw a bunch of restaurant ideas around, and finally settled on Carver Café. I’d never been there before but Sunshine promised it was yummy. I like yummy.

Carver Café is not very far from where we live—within a couple miles, in fact. Can you guess where I’m going with this story?

Just as we walked in the door to the restaurant, Sunshine said, “Maybe we can even sit at the Twilight table!” and all of a sudden it hit me where I’d heard of Carver Café: it played a starring role in Part Deux of her Twilight-Scouting blog featurette. I was all NO WAY I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU BROUGHT ME HERE WTF?

But don’t worry. I totally forgave her and we’re still friends.

We ordered really unhealthy food and it was delicious and I’m definitely going back when I’m hungrier so I can eat more just like it. Because look at this:

That is the sausage-iest country gravy EVER. Sooo good.

And here’s Sunshine’s order. That bacon is thick and meaty and, like, right off the pig! (Pssst… I like when breakfast is so gravy-laden that it spills over the edge of the plate. It’s good luck, right?)

We didn’t sit at the Twilight table. In fact, Carver Café didn’t even seem like a very Twilight-y place (I don’t know what a Twilight-y place would be, exactly, but my guess is it would involve lots of teen girls taking turns sitting IN THE CHAIR EDWARD ACTUALLY SAT IN OMG! and asking the waitresses to take their pictures.) There were Twilight Barbies on display and I asked Sunshine if she needed a moment alone with the Edward Barbie—she didn’t. Big, grown-up girl… I’m so proud of her… <sniff!>

The most Twilight-y thing I did in the Carver Café was use a FORK to eat my delicious meal. (Ha! A FORK. Get it? I’m hilare.)


Jan. 21: Sewing is for the brave

The scarf I bought and love I know I keep going on about my hair, but y’know, it’s my HAIR. Who knew how important it was? I promise, I’ll try to talk about something else soon.

I bought a scarf on Etsy a while ago and really like it—good coverage, nice color, isn’t too tight. Perfect. But I wanted a whole bunch of them, and didn’t really want to spend a ton of $$ on scarves I’ll only be wearing (hopefully) for a few months. Also, most of the other prints available were a little wilder than I like, so I didn’t find much else that would work with my wardrobe. Instead, I got a pattern for a similar scarf and took a bagful of my clothes to the fabric store to match. I bought six different prints with the idea that I would make scarves myself, or better yet, my mom would do it.

I finally got around to setting up my sewing machine last week, only to find that it wouldn’t work. I’m pretty sure it just needs to be serviced, but I don’t know when I’ll get around to taking it in. My mother-in-law suggested I use her sewing machine. But do you know what it’s like to use an unfamiliar sewing machine? It’s a lot like using someone else’s cell phone; HOW DO I DIAL? WHERE’S THE SEND BUTTON? WHICH END DO I TALK INTO?

Fortunately, Darlene included the manual with the sewing machine, so by following six pages of instructions, I was able to figure out how to thread it. The bobbin took longer than it should have, I admit, but the dogs enjoyed the happy dance I did when I figured it out. (My happy dance scared the cat.)

The scarf pattern included too many pieces and assembly steps. I should have known at the beginning that it was a bad idea. It took all morning to sew it, and once it was finished I put it on my head and looked way more like Laura Ingalls Wilder than I ever did when I actually wanted to look like her at age eight. WTF? The scarf was totally bonnet-y! I think it’s still wearable—I can push it down in the bonnet-y part—but I don’t love it. Not a bit.

I had another pattern for a hat/scarf, one more like a do-rag, and decided to give that a try. It’s a reversible hat, and it took me a very long time to decide which two of my fabrics to use. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that. It’s just that, well… it’s a commitment, y’know? What if the prints don’t look right together? True, they don’t have to, but… they should. Oh, just shut up.

The reversible hat was a lot easier to make, but I still hated it when it was done. It’s too huggy to my head.

Can I get a collective curse word here, preferably the really bad one?


Then tonight I had a brilliant idea. I emailed the woman I bought the cool scarf from on Etsy and asked if she could make me more scarves if I sent her the fabric. She said yes. I sure could have saved a lot of time and effort if I’d thought of that first. I’m thrilled she’s willing to make them for me, but I’m still kinda grrr-ing at myself.

For oh-so-many reasons.


Jan. 20: More hair weirdness

I haven’t been wearing a wig when I go out lately. Hats or scarves are way more comfortable, and I don’t worry that someone will look closely and figure out that my hat or scarf is fake. ALL of my hats and scarves are real, by the way.

It’s not just that the wigs are hot and itchy, though they are. There are other irritating things, like the stretchy thing I’m supposed to wear under the wig, which is overly tight and actually hurts after a few hours. I’m also always worried that the edges of it will show near the edges of the wig. And I’m overly-conscious of any slippage or movement of the wig—will the part stay where it’s supposed to, or will it end up going horizontally rather than vertically on my head?

One huge temptation: to wear my wig askew out in public, with smeared lipstick, maybe while carrying a stuffed animal and talking to it like it’s my baby. How fun would that be? “Oh, look at that poor woman! Chemo made her cuckoo!”

(Clearly, chemo is making me cuckoo. You don’t need the smeared lipstick to know that.)

And the other thing that bugs me about wearing the wig is that when I put on sunglasses, they either go under the wig—which is an odd sensation and makes my head look all wonky, creating a bump above my ears that no natural hair would ever make—or they have to go over my hair, which I absolutely cannot abide. I used to put my glasses up on my head when I went indoors, and now if I do that I’m quite sure that the weight of my sunglasses will make my wig slowly slide back, exposing the fright that is my bald head to all the world.

Now can you understand why I’ve been doing the hat or scarf thing?

Today I discovered something that’s going to make me even crazier. I haven’t been wearing mascara ever since I noticed my eyelashes falling out, and as I looked closely in a mirror this morning I saw that I do indeed still have some eyelashes. Cool, right? I was getting ready to meet Loveliest Lori and Kim F’n for lunch across town and decided to not only wig it up, but do something to my face too.

(It’s hard to meet up with these two beautiful girls and not feel like the ugly duckling. Even a little bit of my grocery store makeup ought to help that, right?)

(Ha. False.)

I started applying my mascara and saw that it was making many of the few eyelashes I have left fall out. I used my eyelash comb to get at them because the loose ones were sticking to the good ones, but it mostly just smeared the mascara. For some reason I kept putting on more. By the time I was done, I looked like I had two black eyes and was also determined that I will not be wearing mascara again until I grow back my lashes for really and for true.

Stupid chemo. At times like these I have to remind myself very frequently that it’s doing something good.

Chemo can’t ruin my lips, can it? Cuz lipstick is really the only thing I have left. Pretty soon here I’m just gonna be a red mouth with a scarf. Look out.


Jan. 20: Celebrity autobiographies

I don’t have much of an introduction to these videos. I first ran across one on The Huffington Post, I think, and have since found a bunch of info about the popularity of CelebrityAutobiography.com. Of everything I’ve watched so far, this performance is my favorite—Kristen Wiig (of Saturday Night Live) reading the poetry of Suzanne Somers: 

Here are links to some of the others:

What I think most after watching these is how there are a lot of celebrity authors out there who should have seriously considered hiring decent ghostwriters.


Jan. 20: Just a list o’ stuff

I have randomness to share, because that’s the way I think at this time of night.

  • Sleeping next to someone who snores really sucks, and that is part of the reason it’s 2 a.m. and I’m blogging instead of sleeping.
  • I need a new desk chair. I want it to be supportive in the right places, but it has to be pretty too. I’d like a brown or navy leather one. Scoot-y. With arms. Preferably a high back. Also, it has to not have a worn down front edge that scratches the backs of legs when I sit in it naked.
  • I looked for a picture of 'something random' and here's what popped up. A sheep-dolphin. Not creepy at all. The episode of The Office when Dwight has been fired and goes to work for Staples, and then Michael comes in at the end and asks him to come back to Dunder-Mifflin, and “Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong” is playing on the speakers overhead? That is some damn funny television right there.
  • Tonight I laughed so hard at the PTO meeting that I kinda threw my head back and felt my hat start to slip. I caught it in time, but I cannot imagine the humiliation if I hadn’t. I should probably start being less physically expressive—I shall study Raquel Welch’s tap-dancing performance in Scarsdale Surprise.
  • Speaking of my baldness, sometimes I forget how long it’s been since I last showered. With hair, I could always tell by how greasy it felt; now I can’t. I kinda want you to tell me if I smell like I need a shower, but I kinda don’t.
  • The Rouge is playing in Boise on Friday night. I just found out about it the other day and have been trying ever since then to figure out how I could pull off a trip. It’s a sucky time to drive the seven hours because of that one stretch of I-84 that’s unpredictably icy this time of year, and last minute flights were crazy-expensive. Still, I kept hanging onto the hope that I’d think of a way. Today I gave up. To The Rouge boys: next time give Auntie Zen more notice. Thanks.
  • I called Comcast today to change our service in an effort to lower our monthly cable cost. We downgraded our cable TV from “preferred” to “starter,” which means we still get the channels we’ve always had but won’t get the ones we’ve had for the past year that we never watch. We also changed our digital voice package so that we no longer have voice mail (which we rarely check anyway) and will now have to pay for long distance calls made from our land line. Funny, because we didn’t know we had free long distance all this time. We use our cell phones almost exclusively anyway, so this changes pretty much nothing. But… it knocked $50/month off our bill. The lesson to be learned here, kids, is that sometimes it pays to make a phone call.
  • I think I might watch too much Law & Order. I’m not paranoid, but I’m quite sure there’s something sinister going on around every corner. Maybe I just need to move to a safer neighborhood. Also, I’m hearing an awful lot of voices lately. I don’t think I’m the only one…
  • I get to have lunch with two of my favorite girls on Wednesday! People all over the world are going to be green with envy. Well, a handful of people on Facebook will be.

Time to try to fall asleep again. ‘Night.


Jan. 18: Wil-maaaaa!

fred Ugh. Today I feel like I got put through one of those insanely violent Fred Flintstone-getting-repeatedly-bonked-into-the-ground-at-the-quarry-by-the-rabid-dinosaur-bulldozer moments, but-cept I hurt worse. This is what one week after chemo feels like for me. Ouch.

I noticed it coming on last night when I was reading that book I’m still raving about, and I thought it might just be soreness from sitting on my giant arse all day reading that book I’m still raving about. As I was going to bed, I remembered that it is THAT time of chemo’s three week cycle, the time in which I start feeling achy and grouchy and mean and many additional adjectives unsuitable for a family blog such as this one.

(I’m kidding. I know this isn’t a family blog. But I’m still not going to use a bunch of X-rated language, as much as I might want and deserve to. You’re welcome for me saving your eyes from the filth.)

Anyhow, let me give you an idea of how much I hurt: A LOT.

  • My skin feels tender everywhere, like I rolled in gravel (see, there I am back at that dangerous quarry again).
  • When I move, my muscles ache as though I just did six hours of aerobics to “I’m So Excited” by the Pointer Sisters. I did not just do six hours of aerobics. I’m not sure I’ve done six hours of aerobics if you add up all the time I’ve spent doing aerobics in my entire life. I hate aerobics. They are an invention of the devil, you know, along with the accordion and The Pointer Sisters.
  • My fancy mattress, which doesn’t have pressure points—or some nonsensical feature like that, which is supposed to make me think it’s worth all the $$ I paid for it—definitely has pressure points today. It hurts me no matter how I sit, lie, roll over, fetch, or play dead. Still, I’m not planning on moving my afore-mentioned giant arse from it today.
  • My teeth hurt.
  • I’m hungry. That has nothing to do with feeling achy, I’m just hoping someone reads this and brings me something to eat. I’d like some fresh flowers and the newspaper too, please. And a new puppy.
  • My mom is vacuuming downstairs and totally harshing my mellow. Again, nothing to do with feeling achy, and not even really bothering me all that much. I just wanted to make you feel jealous because my mom’s cleaning MY house and not yours. Ha. (I get kinda mean when I’m achy, obvy.)
  • When I stretch my legs, my toes go in that weird locked position that hurts like a mofo, and I have to bend them back with my fingers. What is that? I hate that. In fact, I’m not a fan of anything that hurts like a mofo.
  • Like chemo.

I’m just gonna sit here and try not to have a rotten day. You do the same, mmmkay?


Jan. 17: The Double Bind

thedoublebind I learned in a poetry class in college that one should never use the word “interesting” to describe poetry—it’s simply too vague and says too little. That probably applies to critiques of most writing, I’d guess. So I’m pretty much speechless right now.

Because, um, wow.

Last night I started reading The Double Bind, by Chris Bohjalian, and I just finished it a few minutes ago. Except for a long nap and a couple of Facebook breaks throughout the day, I think I read the whole ding-dong* day long. I can think of very few books I’ve read recently that have been as un-put-down-able as this one was.

Oh, I thought of another word: “fascinating.” The book was definitely fascinating.

I’m leery of saying much more about the story because I don’t want to ruin anything if you haven’t yet read it, and I hope you will read it because I want to talk to someone about it**. I sure wish I had the ability to weave a story like Bohjalian has done here, though—he’s got an incredible gift. The Double Bind’s description offered by Amazon goes like this:

Best known for the provocative and powerful novel, Midwives (an Oprah Book Club® Selection), Chris Bohjalian writes beautiful and riveting fiction featuring what the San Francisco Chronicle dubbed “ordinary people in heartbreaking circumstances behaving with grace and dignity.” In his new novel, The Double Bind, a literary thriller with references to (and including characters from) The Great Gatsby, Bohjalian takes readers on a haunting journey through one woman's obsession with uncovering a dark secret.

I read Midwives last year and while it was well-written and I had no trouble getting through it, I wasn’t exactly enthralled by the subject matter (shocking revelation: it was about a midwife). Sure, it was powerful, but “provocative” is stretching it, if you ask me. The Double Bind was a different kind of thing altogether, though—a thriller that, while not necessarily action-packed, kept my attention easily all day long. And now that I’m done with it, I’m trying to figure out how I’m supposed to stop thinking about the story long enough to be able to fall asleep tonight.

Yes, I guess “fascinating” is the most accurate one-word summary of The Double Bind I can come up with on my own, or at least without the help of a thesaurus. I recommend this book with all my thumbs.


*Slight apology to Random Sunshine for stealing her lingo. But just a slight one.
**Hawaii Laura, we have GOT to get that Trans-Pacific Book Club going!


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